During a three-game series against Trinity College (17–8; 6–3 NESCAC) on April 7 and 8, pitcher Jack Mullen ’23 played a pivotal role in securing the baseball team’s (12–9; 2–4 NESCAC) first NESCAC East Division series win against Trinity since 2017. In the second game, Mullen’s pitching prowess resulted in just two hits, no earned runs and five strikeouts. This season, Mullen has maintained a 2.53 earned run average and has been a steadying presence on the mound for the Polar Bears.
Mullen grew up playing baseball, but it wasn’t until middle school that he discovered his knack for pitching. Having grown up just down the road in Freeport, Mullen is thankful that he was able to meet Head Coach Mike Connolly before arriving at Bowdoin. He emphasized the positive role that Connolly—a staple of Maine baseball—has played in his collegiate career and how, in general, the coaches have created an uplifting and supportive environment.
“[The coaches make] sure that the team is like a brotherhood and that we’re all supportive of each other not just on the field, but off the field,” Mullen said. “I think that comes down to the coaches recruiting good guys, not just good baseball players.”
Mullen thought that the Trinity series was one of the team’s best performances of the season. However, his favorite game was against Middlebury College (17–7; 3–3 NESCAC) earlier this month, when the Polar Bears split the doubleheader. Mullen emphasized Middlebury’s difficulty as an opponent; Bowdoin’s performance in that series heightened their confidence for the rest of the season.
“Last year, [Middlebury] hit me around pretty well,” Mullen said. “It was good this year for me to pitch against them and do really well because we’re probably gonna see them in the playoffs later this season.”
Mullen is not intimidated by the high levels of competition, though. He believes that last year, his first full season due to the pandemic, prepared him for the challenges of competing in the NESCAC.
“I learned a lot from that season and this year,” Mullen said. “I have a [full] year under my belt, and I know what it takes to win a NESCAC series.… [The team] worked really hard on preparing ourselves and being the best team we can be. I think for the most part, it’s shown so far.”
Before games, Mullen focuses on typical preparation, like hydrating, sleeping, talking with coaches, stretching and cultivating a game plan. When it comes game time, Mullen puts all else aside to “focus on one pitch at a time.” Mullen thrives in stressful scenarios like a tight score or bases-loaded situation, as these moments tend to generate excitement amongst the team.
“I think what sets me apart [as a pitcher] is my composure,” Mullen said. “I won’t let an error or an unfortunate play that’s out of my control get to me. Because if that does happen, I’ll just think ‘next pitch, next pitch, next pitch.’”
Mullen and the baseball team are preparing for their upcoming series against NESCAC rival Colby College (18–7; 3–3 NESCAC) this weekend. With a broader perspective, the Polar Bears are looking forward to NESCAC playoffs, which begin in two weeks.
“We’re excited for the rest of the season because we know the type of talent and work ethic we have on this team,” Mullen said. “I think you guys will see it on the field.”